Uncomfortable conversations – End of life

Getting old scares me. The idea of my parents getting older, the thought that someday, they may not be able to care for themselves keeps me up at night. The thought that I will someday die has crossed my mind as well. Even more painful, the thought that Jeff will die. So, why am I talking about getting old and dying on a blog titled Scripting Happiness? Because not talking about it can be more damaging and painful.

I had lunch with a colleague of mine recently who is about 10 years my senior. She was talking about her 70 year old mother and how her conversation with friends revolve around caring for their elderly parents. I also reflected on my own life and watching my grandmother pass away, followed by the deterioration of my grandfather and his death. My grandfather possessed a constitution until his wife passed away that would be the envy of most people. One thing my colleague and I discussed was the fact that despite our parents getting older, the fact that death will one day happen is never discussed.

This is certainly no different with my own parents. Yes, they are still young and healthy but it won’t always be that way. It’s an extremely painful topic but something that’s worth considering and discussing because let’s face it – death is inevitable. For example, my mother has told me on more than one occasion that she did not want to live in a care home under any circumstances. I’m not sure what the alternative strategy is, and if she has one, maybe she should share it with her children.

My husband Jeff and I discussed about what we want and don’t want in terms of end of life decisions. It’s not painful or uncomfortable because death isn’t knocking on our door. We have rational conversations about this and plan it accordingly. And I think this is a good time to have these uncomfortable talks – when you’re healthy and young enough to change your life, and finances.

Image credit: Ezu

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer August 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Not enough people have these converstaions. And some wait till the last minute when it is almost too late. I can tell you many many stories – but I have more opportunities to see this in action becasue of the type of law I practice. Great for bringing it up!

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Jeena Cho August 19, 2011 at 3:39 am

Thanks Jennifer for your feedback! Unfortunately, too many people wait until a crisis arises to seek help when so much could be done to prevent it.

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Barbara August 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Timely, as we head into September. It’s always a time to reflect and be ready for what the end of the year might bring. Recently my husband had hip surgery. As part of his recovery, he was in a rehabilitation center that offered various levels of care. He was the youngest person there, and it was a very tangible reminder of what time brings. I’m embarassed to say it was shocking, but it was. Our biggest fear is that our daughter, who is an only child, will have tough decisions to make on her own, or worse, that she will have to support us financially. Thanks for this post, it’s another reminder to “take care” of her in the future by making sure we “take care” of these matters now.

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